Family

[4.0] The Darling children — Wendy, Michael, and John — take a magical trip to Neverland with a hero only children can see or believe in: Peter Pan. Once there, they meet Pan’s Lost Boys, visit the mermaids, pow-wow with the Indians, and have a couple of entanglements with the dastardly Captain Hook. Peter Pan is not one of my favorite Disney animated ‘classics’. I …

[6.5] This American/Japanese animated venture would be the first feature-length movie journey into J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth. Produced by Rankin/Bass (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Last Unicorn) and animated by the studio that would later become Studio Ghibli, The Hobbit is a brisk 77-minute adaptation that features many folksy songs and a notable voice cast led by John Huston as Gandalf. While it may be …

[7.0] Bette Midler headlines this family-friendly, albeit dark, comedy-fantasy about three sister witches who are brought back to life three hundred years after they were hanged. As the sisters make plans to sacrifice the town’s children for a youth potion, the boy responsible for their resurrection (Omri Katz) teams with his little sister (Thora Birch) and his would-be girlfriend (Vinessa Shaw) to stop the magical …

[6.5] Martin Rosen brings to life Richard Adams’ novel about a group of rabbits who leave their burrows and face a series of deadly hardships in search of a new home. Watership Down is one of the more serious animated films geared toward children. Under its episodic adventure narrative, it’s really a meditation on the ever-present risk and inevitability of death. Not all of the …

[7.0] Thirteen-year-old Dean Stockwell (Kim, The Dunwich Horror) stars in this turn-of-the-century coming-of-age flick about a mischievous boy who mellows after years of preparatory school. Stockwell plays “Dink” Stover, who in the first act of the film is responsible for painting a horse green and blowing up a classroom before his family send him to a strict all-boys school where he quickly makes enemies of …

[7.5] Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda star in this fluffy, family-oriented comedy about a widower with ten children who falls in love with a widow who has eight kids of her own. But do they dare merge their families into a twenty-person household? Yours, Mine and Ours is a charming little flick that quickly won me over with Ball’s and Fonda’s performances and plenty of …

[8.5] Bob Hoskins stars as a 1940s Hollywood detective who is reluctantly pulled into a murder investigation in which the prime suspect is a cartoon rabbit. Can he overcome his hatred of ‘toons’ and prove Roger Rabbit’s innocence? Or will the real culprit get away with much more than murder? Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Romancing the Stone) directs this hybrid blend of animation …

[7.0] Mickey Rooney headlines this slice-of-life picture about a New York town maintaining the home front during WWII. Rooney plays a highschooler working as a telegram delivery boy to help provide for his family while his older brother is in service. James Craig (The Devil and Daniel Webster) plays Rooney’s employer, who is also a surrogate father to Rooney’s character. (Rooney’s deceased father actually narrates …

[6.0] Disney Nature presents this kid-oriented documentary about the lifestyle of Adélie penguins in Antarctica. Ed Helms (The Office) narrates and provides what is essentially voiceover for our hero penguin, affectionately named Steve. Steve begins the movie on his way to the penguins’ mating grounds, where he’ll build a nest of stones and try to attract a mate. He hits it off with a lady …

[7.0] Director Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Alice in Wonderland) turns Disney’s animated classic into a live-action film that is both a remake and a sequel. Dumbo follows the original story in broad strokes, with Danny DeVito running a down-on-its-luck traveling circus where a baby elephant with enormous ears is born. At first, the baby is considered a freak. But two children of a returning war …

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